Guest Podcasting: 12 Steps to Being the Perfect Interviewee
I love all of my podcast guests, but one of my stand-out favorites is British travel writer Mark Ellwood. I interviewed him for my “A Perfect Day in Manhattan” episode of the Postcard Academy.
Mark has been a host of a few travel podcasts himself and I always loved listening to him because of the stories and tips he shared, but above all, the energy he brought to every episode. In fact, when I interviewed him, he told me a story of feeling very out of place growing up in England, where people would say things to him like, “Who put cocaine on your cornflakes?” because he was so cheery. And then while at university, he got a job taking American tourists around Europe and realized, “Oh, I’ve found my people!” He’s been living in New York for almost his entire adult life.
So I knew I wanted to interview Mark and I was very happy when he agreed to come on my podcast. But then he blew me away by the effort he made to be a great guest. Here’s how you can copy what he did:
Respond to emails promptly
Mark didn’t let days go by with no response. I mailed him a scheduling link to book in our interview, and boom, he signed up.
Listen to the show
Mark said, “If I were to listen to one episode that best represents your show, what would it be?” I sent him a show in the format we’d be doing, he listened to it and said he totally got it and knew what to do.
Show up early
Be ready to start the interview on time with your headphones on and your mic ready.
I had sent Mark some questions in advance that I knew would require some thought. He read them, and put thought into his answers.
In your everyday life, you might be super chill and mellow and that’s great. But when people are listening to your voice and have no visuals, you need to keep their attention by leveling up your energy. Plus, you’re happy to be speaking to the host and to their audience. Let that enthusiasm shine through. Mark was so cheerful. I felt like I was chatting with a best friend. And my listeners felt like I did when I first heard Mark, “This is a guy I want to hang out with. And he’s giving us all these amazing tips on Manhattan. I totally trust him.”
Have a call to action
A good host will always ask you where people can find out more about you. Mark shared where he was on social media and spelled out his handles so people would know where to find him. So have a plan. Do you want to send people to a specific page on your website? Perhaps your podcast page with your trailer episode embedded right at the top? Maybe a link to your most popular content, which contains a lead magnet to collect their email address? Plan where you want to send them in advance.
Share the show
Promote your interview on social media, email newsletter, your website, and your other channels.
Bonus tips on how to be a great podcast guest
Ask the host to send you some questions in advance
You don’t need to read these answers word-for-word, and probably shouldn’t, but think about what you want to say. And let the host know if there is something specific you’d like to make sure you cover.
Offer to record your end of the conversation
If you’re speaking over Skype, recording locally on your end will give you better sound quality.
Check out the host on social media before the interview
What are they talking about? If they’re a good host, they’ll want to build rapport with you before you record, so help them out and come prepared with some of your own ice breakers. And the more you know about them, the more comfortable you’ll feel talking to them.
Level up your message
Yes, shooting the breeze with a podcast host can be fun, but if you really want to have an impact, bring the discussion back to your mission, vision, and values. If you haven’t listened to episode 19: Want to Grow Your Podcast Audience? Communicate What You Stand For. That wasn’t a fluffy fluff episode. Knowing what you stand for and your key messages are the foundation of a memorable and meaningful podcast. Obviously, the whole interview doesn’t have to be on your grand vision for the world but share what’s important to you in language that people can repeat. And don’t worry about having the perfect key messages. Those are things you can continue to massage until people start latching onto them, and they’ll repeat these words back to you: “Yes! Yes, I loved when you said XYZ. I feel the same way.”
Send a thank you email for the opportunity to be a guest on their show
This makes people smile :)
And here’s a bonus bonus
Stay in touch with your podcast host. Comment on their social media. Hang out with them in real life. Offer to do a podcast swap. I’ve had a great time interviewing people on my show and then having them interview me and we both share both episodes so our audiences get introduced to a new show. You never know where these relationships will lead. I’ve traveled the world with people who have been on my show. The Postcard Academy has been named best travel podcast in several places because of the relationships I’ve built and how people remember me.
Remember, last week I said that we shouldn’t think about other podcasts as competition. It’s not us versus them. And we should never try to interview someone or get on someone’s show just because they have a big audience and we want to take advantage of that. Podcasting is a lot more fun when you’re in it to have fun and build relationships, and that’s also how you build an audience of people who want to listen to you. Have the conversations you want to have, and that your audience wants you to have, and the rest will follow.